Published: 27th January 2022
Trying to get over a career break, ma'am? Archi's is there for you!
Archi's Academy is a start-up that recently won the Impact Startup Award at the Web Summit. We converse with its founder and CEO
For a lot of young women out there, the decision of starting a family looms large over their lives, for it often means taking a break to look after their child. By the time their kid reaches the schooling age, the world has moved far ahead of them, especially if they are seeking a job in the infotech sector. There are few skilling agencies out there that enable women to reduce the skill gap and make themselves hireable once again. One such start-up is Archi's Academy.
A career accelerator platform registered in the US, Archi's offers first-hand training in areas that include software development, project management, product design and blockchain technologies. It recently won the Impact Startup Award at the Web Summit for fulfilling two criteria among the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Education and Gender Equality. EdexLive got the opportunity to converse with its Founder and CEO, Thoufeeque Saheer and learn about the work done at Archi's. Excerpts from the conversation:
Tell me about Archi's origin story.
The origin of Archi's begins really with my time in Turkey. This being a place where people don't speak much English, my community was very limited. I was wondering how I could provide for the people, in terms of the knowledge that I possess. So at the end of 2019, I set up a free introductory BootCamp for software development. And from that, I decided to expand it into a set of working professionals who could train people in software development. The goal was, from the beginning, to find people who are struggling to find a job.
Is coding an absolute must for people to get into the IT sector? How do you guide your trainees to make them employable?
The thing to know first is that coding is not the only way to get a job in the IT sector. We have other jobs in areas like quality assurance, testing, project management and design. The good thing here is that you don't need to have all the knowledge you get from a Computer Science degree. So when people join Archi's, I guide them and tell them that they first need to have some skills which will help them gain an edge over freshers who have just graduated from college. This is done through training from professionals who have several years of industry experience. That is how we enable them to make a one-page résumé that stands out and they get entry-level jobs to get started.
What is one marked trend that you have noticed in people who join Archi's from India?
One thing I have noticed to be common in people from India as well as in Turkey is that the professionals often have trouble communicating. Our global demographic allows the trainee to overcome this hesitation because they are constantly in touch with people who are from different countries. We have trainees from 22 countries right now and they collaborate with one another. What we try to simulate in a way is the office or workplace environment. We do not have a student-teacher or a classroom dynamic at Archi's. We call all our gatherings online as meetings where we assign projects and discuss the progress made. This enables the trainees to be ready for a job where they need to work remotely or from their home itself.
What do you make of the concept of getting a degree for a job? Is there a way around?
The whole idea of having a degree to get a job in the IT world is now eroding. I have had trainees from Turkey who have been pharmacists, policemen and even cigarette sellers. They were trained and now work as IT professionals. Even in India now the hiring culture has transformed. Earlier it was dominated by service-oriented consultancy firms. Now we have the start-up culture wherein there is greater room for people with the right training to get jobs. I feel that as long as you are willing to accept that you will need to work hard to get the right skills, anyone can get trained.
Can you tell me about the vision you have at Archi's that enabled you to win the Impact Startup Award?
Getting the Impact Startup Award at the Web Summit was a huge moment for us. To receive the award for meeting criteria among the UN Sustainable Development Goals was even more special. Bringing mothers back to the workforce with proper skills and training has been a vision for us since the beginning. Around 30 per cent of our trainees are people who have had to take a break from work and 40 per cent of our trainees are women. The problem of gender inequality is there for everyone to see in the IT sector. But at Archi's, I feel that we empower women to come back into the working fold with the right experience.